Meet Our Friend Rian!

Meet Rian as told by his mom, Allison:
Rian was born at 23 weeks. My water had broken around 16 weeks. He was born on 12/12/12, we were told he probably wouldn’t live through the night. But much to our surprise, he made it! After 372 days in the Helen Devos NICU, we were finally able to bring him home on 12/19/13! We were able to spend a beautiful Christmas with him. After spending 20 amazing days with him at home, he went home to Heaven. His dad & I miss him very much but nothing will ever steal his memories from us, not even death. We love him more than words could ever express!

Added by HHH-

When we were contacted by the Child Life Specialist of the NICU to see if a birthday party fell within the scope of our mission, we were so pleased to be able to help a baby in this department in part because our own Ella had spent her early days in the NICU too.

It was a startling realization, however, when we thought about what it meant that a baby in the NICU was celebrating his first birthday… still in the NICU.

The Child Life Specialist passed on a few photos and ideas for a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party. Rian’s mother had humbly asked for some cute paper plates and decorations and we knew that she and the other party guests were going to be in for a surprise when they walked into the conference room doctors had okayed for Rian to visit for a short time for the celebration.

Thanks to your support, the conference room was transformed into a party befitting the monumental occasion! There were decorations on the walls an
d ceiling, a personalized banner, gourmet cake, cupcakes and an individual cake for the guest of honor!

Guests (including hospital staff!) were invited to sign an autograph-able plush caterpillar and enjoy as many slices of gourmet pizza they could eat, all while sitting in the company of a 4 foot long plush hungry caterpillar.

What an honor to be a part of such a special celebration. We were so saddened to hear of Rian’s passing and once again touched by the grace of Rian’s mother who asked that he still be featured as one of our Kids of the Year. Rian and his family have touched our hearts and we will never forget this sweet one year old that so clearly brought joy to those that got to know him.